BEIRUT, LEBANON (4:25 P.M.) – The U.S. and Russian forces nearly clashed in the Euphrates River Valley this week, the U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis claimed on Tuesday.
According to Mattis, a Russian unit was moving close to the U.S. lines east of the Euphrates River, forcing the latter to contact Moscow in order to avoid a confrontation.
“These were forces moving into more advanced positions, too close,” Mattis said, calling them “Russian elements.”
Mattis continued that the U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford, and his Russian counterpart, Gen. Valery Gerasimov, quickly defused the situation and avoided the potential confrontation.
“Those (Russian) elements fell back,” Mattis said, adding that “we have also drawn off slightly.”
The Russian Ministry of Defense also confirmed Mattis’ report.